Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Vague Uneasiness

It is a famous fact that a celebrated novelist in Japan, Akutagawa, left his words, "a vague uneasiness" and then committed suicide, but I have no idea about what he really meant. Recently I have also felt somewhat anxiety about my own near future.

About half year is about to have passed soon since I came here, and I am afraid that I will have to leave here this year.

The department I attend doesn't seem to offer me a scholarship to support my life in the US though it says officially that it will offer international students scholarships.

The scholarships my department offers are not for supporting the study and research of grad students, but only for their teaching undergraduate students in the department. However, it may be very natural because my department is not ranked so highly in the ranking of economics.

I have two choices left: both of them are to go back to Japan if I have no assistantship. The main problem is "how I should do after I go back home": to work, or to take the challenge again to apply to econ grad schools in the US. Regarding the latter choice, there's no good chance of getting the admission with full scholarship, but it may be a good thing for me to apply again.

At any rate, I will tread a thorny path and live a hard life.

If I work, I would like to start my career as a professional home teacher. It seems to fit me best. I like teaching and I think that I have a teaching experience as a home teacher(7 years long) and that it may have some market value. Even though I cannot teach the meaning of studying, I will be able to share students' feelings for studying.

If I start my career as a businessman for company, I believe that it will not satisfy me mentally a lot even though it may satisfy me financially.

In the office fully equipped for air-conditioning and heating, I would be asked to do in the opposite way to mine and I would have to give up myself and have no hope for my later life.....
If I could have had been a businessman, I wouldn't stay here and now work for company already in Japan.

Here let me say about my view on job: achievement and fulfillingness are, of course, very important in doing job, but the most important thing for me is "a strong passion for my job".

It sounds somewhat strange to manage to work and spend a personal time. I would ask a question for the people who are seeking hard to balance their job with their personal life: "what do you think of the time of doing your jobs?" The time of job is your own time! (Some people say that selling their time is a job, but I don't think so. Doing things worth paying should be a job. Right? If my time would be worth paying, I would stay and sit at my company's office all day long.)

Can I continue to think about my job all day long? That's the question.

Let me reconfirm my purpose of staying here: I don't like behaving socially in public. I am reproached for my poor speaking English by other international students, and am kept at arm's length if I ask some academic conversations for other students.

I still have a strong interest in pursuit of academics, education and politics. Economics should be more meaningful than we think and still has a lot of unknown fields to research. I believe that the idea of economics is important for us to live a better life.

Education has been underevaluated a little too much in my country and (that's why) many international students in Japan are complaining of their study life in Japan after they go back home.

Government in Japan has become the next job of TV stars. Many politicians are promising many policies that sound all good, but they seem to have no vision of their own on the whole of Japan.

As many politicians are talking to us, "I will support for raising children", "I will improve the working environment for women"- are these two policies really compatible? If more women were working than ever, the opportunity cost of raising children could be so high. Moreover, if the government tried hard to help parents raise their children, a heavy tax would go to many working people. After all, these two policies would never better parents' conditions of raising children, I guess.

An ostensible talk bores me. Or I don't like talking seriously, especially about politics and religion, because I don't think that many people are understanding about these talks, of course, including me.

I should keep in mind that some people don't think just as I think.

Anyway, let's stop talking anymore! I don't trust many people here: they don't seem to try to keep their promises and always change their words(too much "time-inconsistency"). However, it could be a proof that I have no popularity here. (I'm so sad!)

Recently I have been into dynamic macroeconomics. I have been interested in macroeconomics since I was an undergraduate student and I found again that I like macroeconomics even though I sometimes feel sick about much math. I will stop talking with other people for a while, and have a good time to enjoy studying dynamic macroeconomics.

The above post is the English version of the previous post. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008







働くことについては、私は生涯の職としてプロの「家庭教師」の道を選ぼうと思う。自分にはこれが一番向いていると思う。勉強することの意味について教えることができないとしても、これまで学んだことには一定の市場価値があると考えている。 教えることは好きだし、勉強についての思いを生徒の皆さんと共有できると信じている。




仕事とプライベートを両立、なんてどこか変な発想に思える。 こんな事言う人に聞いてみたい: 「あなたにとって、仕事している時間は何ですか?」 「仕事の時間」も自分の時間であることに変わりない。(時間を売るのが「仕事」だという意見もあるが、それは違う。時間を売るのが仕事ではなく、「価値あるサービス」を売るのである。したがって、支払ってもらえるだけの価値を生まねばならないのだ。時間を売るだけで仕事になるなら、一日中会社のオフィスに居座ってやる!)






子育て支援します、女性の働く環境を改善します、とはいうものの、そもそも両者の政策は両立できるものなのか?女性が働けば子供を生み育てる機会費用は高まるし(男性側の協力を含めればなおさらである)、子育て支援に税金を投入しようものなら、勤労者世帯に過大な税負担を強いられる。 いずれにせよ、今叫ばれている政策項目はさらなる少子化に拍車をかけよう。





Thursday, February 21, 2008



2月21日9時1分配信 時事通信



池田、泉州は来春にも持ち株会社を設立して両行が傘下に入る方向で検討している。池田は同府北部から阪神間、泉州は同府南部が営業基盤となっており、店舗などの重複が少なく、統合効果が大きいと判断した。総資産(07年9月末)で、りそなグループの近畿大阪銀行、三井住友グループの関西アーバン銀行を抜き、同府内で最大の地銀になる。 関西では企業向け融資が伸び悩んでおり、近県の地銀が中小企業の多い同府内、阪神間に進出。地銀同士の貸し出し競争が激化している。池田と泉州は、統合で総合力の強化を目指す。 池田は07年12月末時点で547億円の有価証券含み損を処理するため、今年3月に三菱東京UFJ銀行を引き受け先とする300億円規模の増資を実施する計画。泉州は三菱東京UFJ銀が67.8%を出資している。池田、泉州の統合で三菱UFJフィナンシャル・グループの持ち株比率は40%前後になるが、売却などで20%まで引き下げ、三菱東京UFJ銀が14.9%、その他関連会社が5.1%とし、経営の独立性は維持する。一方、大正も三菱東京UFJ銀が筆頭株主となっている。 関西の地銀の再編は、04年の関西銀行と関西さわやか銀行の統合で関西アーバン銀行が誕生して以来。全国的には、07年4月に福岡銀行と熊本ファミリー銀行がふくおかフィナンシャルグループを設立。同10月には親和銀行が統合し、総資産で国内トップの地銀が誕生している。
2月21日11時35分配信 毎日新聞





Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Tragedy at Northern Illinois University

In my university, there're now counseling services available for the students and faculty:

Counseling Services Available following NIU Tragedy

The our community is deeply saddened by the news of the tragedy at Northern Illinois University and we extend our sincere condolences to the Northern Illinois University community and especially the family and friends of the victims.

For students experiencing concerns as a result of this tragedy, counseling services are available.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Geography of Recession

How is your state? Good? Or not?

America in A Recession

The United States is now in a recession. Is it just like the past experience of Japan's slump in the 1990s?

“It certainly appears that the U.S. productivity miracle is over, ..... Our resilience as an economy is way down. So it looks like the United States will experience a milder version of the Japanese disease.” Kenneth S. Rogoff (Harvard University)

“The United States is moving faster than the Japanese did,......So far, so good. But American policy makers have to be ready to take further steps as needed.” Charles Yuji Horioka (Osaka University)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


「いじめをしません」 舞鶴・白糸中 バッジで宣言
2月12日19時19分配信 京都新聞

 京都府舞鶴市の白糸中(浜)で12日、「いじめをしません」と宣言してバッジを付ける取り組みが始まった。いじめ被害は口頭で友人や教職員に訴えにくいことから、いじめを見かけたり、いじめられた時はバッジを外してSOSを伝える試み。 一昨年秋、部活中などに衣服がなくなる出来事が相次いだため、学級単位で「いじめをしない」というスローガンを廊下に張り出すなど、再発防止活動を進めてきた。 

オリジナルバッジは金属製。円形で直径2・5センチ。表面の模様はハートマークを両手で囲む生徒の案を採用した。美術教員が淡い緑と黄色で色づけし、「HotHeartShiraito(温かい心白糸中)」との文字を添えた。 1年生と3年生はそれぞれ、「みんなと仲良くします」「誰とでも笑顔で接します」と後野文雄校長に誓ってバッジを受け取り、胸元に着けた。2年生には13日に手渡す。教職員も付ける。 後野校長は「いじめ被害を言いにくければバッジを外してほしい。教諭たちがすぐに相談に応じるから」と呼びかけていた。





Introduction to Dynamic Macroeconomics

I have never seen this new textbook of dynamic macroeconomics and so I would like to see it asap. I hope that this book will be the next macro textbook for the first-year grad students.

Battle of the Sexes

A Japanese battle of the sexes!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can Pay Regulation Kill?

This is an interesting and serious article, "Pay regulation can be a killer".

....Centralised pay regulation means hospitals in high wage areas treat fewer patients and these patients have poorer health outcomes. These effects are not trivial: the results suggest that a 10% increase in the gap between the wages paid to NHS (UK National Health Service) nurses and those paid to women working in the private sector locally raises the fatality rate among people admitted with a heart attack by 5%. The size of this effect is not dissimilar to the reductions in heart attack fatalities brought about by the greater use of aspirin and other clot-busting drugs in recent years....

In sum, centralised pay-setting for nurses in the NHS leads to more temporary nurses and lower quality of nurse performance in the NHS, which results in higher fatality rates among patients who are admitted with emergency heart attacks.

Is there someting like that anywhere?

Recently, the products made in Japan have been reported to be lower quality than before. A logo, "Made in Japan", has been known well as just like a brand, but it is about to become an old legend.

One of the reasons has been thought to be that employment-regulation for munufacturer leads to vacancy of skilled labors, high turnover rates and fewer qualified work of labors. After all, it results in lower quality of the products "made in Japan".

Anyway, this is an important problem that we cannot ignore.

Thank you for the pointer of Prof. Otake.

Reference: Can pay regulation kill? Evidence from English hospital trusts
Carol Propper John Van Reenen
30 January 2008

Monty Hall Problem

Now I am taking the course of microeconomics and studying a brief "decision theory".

A decision theory studies how a person makes a decision under the circumstance of uncertainty, thus we use an idea of probability and expectation.

It might be pretty important for us to study the behavior of economic agent under the stochastic environment because almost all of us live and make some choices in the uncertain circumstance.

One of the famous stories related to this area of study is "Monty Hall Problem".

The story is quite simple:

There are three doors and there's a car behind one of the doors and a goat behind each of the left two doors. The problem is:

"If you choose the door 1 and open another door and see a goat behind the door, should you stick with the initial choice(door 1) or switch your choice(door 2 or 3)? "

Anyway, try it!!! If you want to know the brief answer to this problem, please see the first movie. Also, the related link is here.

Japan's Phillips Curve

That's nice!!! Very interesting!!!

I studied the Phillips curve of Japan in the class of econometrics before, but I didn't find it out. Anyway, look at this article and the author's website.

As the title of this article says, Japan's Phillips curve looks like "Japan".

Reference: "Japan's Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan" by GREGOR W. SMITH
forthcoming in Journal of Money, Credit and Banking

Band of Brothers

This is really an excellent TV movie. It is a very important scene of our history and should be handed down from generation to generation. There's neither friend nor foe in the movie, but there's only a battlefield and a critical choice, "to be dead or alive".

It's very long, but doesn't make me bored. Last Saturday and Sunday I watched it all day long. If you have free time to spend or no homework to do, I recommend you to watch it and feel something great about it. I'd like to watch it again if I have more time.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Impatient People Are Smokers

As Ikeda, Shinsuke, professor of Osaka University, tells(sorry the link is all Japanese), more impatient people smoke more.

The reason is as follows:

When smokers decide if they smoke or not, they usually compare the present value of the utility from smoking today to the present value of the disutility(damage to their tomorrow's health) from enjoying smoking today. When they decide to smoke, their marginal utility of smoking today is higher than their (present value) marginal disutility of not smoking today. (This is a kind of the dynamic optimization problem, though.)

In other words, smokers put more importance on today's enjoyment than on tomorrow's risk to their health(smokers are impatient), and they are less likely to avoid the risk of their health.(smokers are less risk-averse).

Moreover, the people who have much income and feel happy with it are less likely to be impatient, while the people who feel unhappy in their life are more likely to seek for peace of mind today. Thus, smokers are not happy. The amount of the unhappiness that smokers have are well worth $18,000, according to some research.

Smokers are impatient and unhappy. That's an interesting insight.

Silver Snow

Today we have a big snow. So the classes we were going to attend were all cancelled.

Looking at the window in my room, I could see white snow frozen on it. Japanese people typically compare today's scenery of snow to "silver" world of snow.

One of the things that I've found since I came here is that a culture is a smell, sound and color. Smell, sound and color are very different from in Japan.

The people I meet here are a little smelly than those I met in Japan. One research says that the reason is that western people generally eat more meat than eastern people like me. It shows one of the differences of culture from me. The other says that America has a culture of deodorant. That's interesting to me.

The words I speak may be a little difficult for some American people to hear. For example, actually the word, "Ramen" I speak is very different from that native Americans speak. Even my name, Taro, native Americans call is heard somewhat differently by me. The words we Japanese speak must be heard differently in America than those native Americans speak.

Just as I told before, we express "white snow" as "silver snow". I don't know why we express it like that, though.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Four Goals of Tax Policy

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Four Goals of Tax Policy









Mankiw on Tax Policy

In Japan, there are a lot of types of discussion about tax policy. Many of them look a mixture of Keynesian and New Classical theory.

Prof. Mankiw did well to summarize the points on tax policy and it should be carried on his new 6th edition of the Principles of Economics not only for students but also for policymakers:

#1 Efficiency: The tax system should distort incentives as little as possible (and, in the case of externalities and Pigovian taxes, correct incentives when necessary).

#2 Intergenerational equity: The tax system should raise enough revenue so current generations do not unduly burden future generations.

#3 Egalitarianism: The tax system should try to achieve a more equal distribution of after-tax incomes.

#4 Stabilization: The tax system should help maintain the economy at full employment.

Many policymakers in Japan, especially some members of LDP, seem to have been from #4 Stabilization to #1 Efficiency. One of the reasons is that they recognize that change on tax doesn't boost the stagnant economy in the 1990s and they begin to know that it is more important for them to keep the economy as efficient as possible in order to make private companies strong.

If private companies become strong, then the profit, income and employment raise up and thus does individual consumption. This idea has been alive since ex-Prime Minister Koizumi and his main economic advisors, Takenaka(Keio Univ.) and Honma(Osaka Univ.) were at work. Especially Honnma emphasized such logic during his work. However, nobody knows if it is true or not.

Many members of LDP don't seem to put emphasis on #2 Intergenerational equity and #3 Egalitarianism.

The reason is that, especially #3 seems a little socialistic and so they don't try to aim at #3. Surprisingly they fail to look at #2. Why not? I think that the reason is that many of them are over 60. So they can't understand their future generations or they may hope that future generations will overcome the problem of the burden of tax reduction in their hearts.

Anyway, in Japan there seems no such classical tradeoff between efficiency and fairness regarding the tax policy. Many of the members of LDP look only at #1. Is that OK in terms of the theory of economic policy? I have no idea.